Identity took interest in interviewing Salma when her sister Shaza gave us a call, asserting that Salma’s story is one that needs to be shared with the world. Shaza believes Salma is a true inspiration for every woman; she’s passionate, dedicated, a true professional and a role model of great perseverance. Taking a closer look at Salma’s career, we discovered that she had shifted her career as a doctor to a whole new path; Salma followed her dreams and now represents every woman who’s willing to follow her passion. She successfully took her cooking passion to a professional level. Salma Elmonthry’s passion for cooking is revealed in her many projects. She’s a professional cook on Fatafeat channel, teaches classes at Salma’s kitchen in Maadi, and is in the process of launching her own granola project soon.
Identity spoke to Salma to learn more about her success story and her passion for cooking.
Can you tell us how you got started?
It all started when I catered for my niece’s birthday, and all the guests complimented my food. I then got an offer from OTV to host a program but I was pregnant at the time. After giving birth, they called me to present a live program every Sunday; I spent around two years there. I then applied for Fatafeat channel and have been working there since 2010. I have made several programs.
We heard you offer cooking classes, especially for newlyweds and foreigners, to learn about classic Egyptian recipes. Can you tell us more about your project, Salma’s Kitchen?
Five years ago, I partnered with Art Café in Maadi, a place renowned for providing several classes including drawing, sewing, cooking, and activities for children etc. We launched cooking stations, cooking classes, and cooking competitions for several companies, teens and children. The highest demand is usually for the Egyptian and the Italian cuisines.
Can you give us some cooking tips from your experience?
Sure, here you go:
- The first thing is “try.” Trying to make a recipe is a must do even if you failed; at least you’ve exerted some effort and tried.
- “Keep trying.” Some people get frustrated when they fail. This is not the end; it’s just a new beginning.
- “Don’t let negative feedback stop you.” Instead, use these comments to improve your cooking techniques.
- “Always try cooking something new.” This is called recipe development, always add innovative ingredients to your recipes. This will in turn reflect your personality and your taste.
What about your other projects, like your granola?
I cater for events but I’m mostly famous for is my exquisite granola. Fortunately, I got a lot of amazing feedback; people told me that it tastes much better than the packed ones. They loved the fact that the granola is homemade and packed with healthy nutrients.
Back to the classes, we are curious. How do they work?
I tailor the class according to the customer’s needs. Every team is supplied with its own station which includes an oven, all the equipment they need, along with high quality ingredients. They all get equal chances to cook. I offer some guidance and helpful tips for my students on things like overall presentation and taste.
What makes your cooking classes interesting?
Cooking is fun! There’s a certain pleasure about creating something out of nothing. Some people get really impressed with the recipes they see on television, and I want to assure them that these recipes are doable. Instead of the tedious outings which generally revolve around eating in whatever restaurant, you can join my kitchen and just have fun while cooking with your friends. For me, teaching people how to cook is an absolute pleasure. The positive feedback I receive is a true blessing. In Egypt, people have abandoned the traditional food, but are now realizing that fast food is unhealthy and wastes their money.
What kind of challenges have you faced?
Two main things. First: the ingredients. I struggle to find the proper ingredients, like pumpkin seeds for instance. Second: to find a wholesaler who’s willing to support my granola project.
What are your future plans?
I plan to have my own granola factory and hope to see my local brand competing with international brands.